The idea that “upskilling”—offering educational opportunities so that people can get better jobs in a more technological economy—has a chance of short-circuiting populist resistance to increasing wealth inequality is an indication that the elite deliberation network is running low on good ideas and may be breaking down as a mechanism for solving social problems created by technological advances.
Perhaps Howard Schultz and today’s Democratic Party are symptoms of the same condition. Both the billionaire and the party with a lot of billionaires want to restore an era, a politics, and a political culture that seem increasingly foreign with each new tweet from the White House.
While GOP commercials defending both the Government Shutdown and the manufactured crisis at the Southern border would’ve been absurd given recent polls, how is it that the Democratic Party didn’t go for the jugular with commercials juxtaposing Wilbur Ross', Larry Kudlow’s, and Laura Trump’s comments with unpaid government workers at food pantries?
"The deepest narrative of the coming Democratic presidential primary race will be where each candidate falls on the neoliberal spectrum. All of us are somewhere on that spectrum."
"PC culture and free speech debates on college campuses have shifted gear. They’re no longer about Gen-Xer egalitarianism. Through an era of skyrocketing tuition PC Culture now is unironically more about “correctness” and less about politics. By “correctness” I mean that PC culture seems more about corrections and transformations of campus atmosphere and culture than it is about political engagement in the marketplace of ideas. In this way “political correctness” now is more inwardly directed on the college community itself instead of towards solving problems in the larger world beyond four years of very expensive schooling."
"In the Before Time, The Long Long Ago, keeping an eye on rightward opinioning was good for sharpening counter-arguments. Now I appreciate anti-orange conservatives as one appreciates well-armed, battle-tested holdouts trying to survive a zombie apocalypse. The numbers aren't on their side, but the fact that they are the final few is a prima facie case that they weren't wrong on everything."
"It’s obvious that the old American aristocracy had a much better track record. It’s not even close, really. The old American aristocracy was in control during an unparalleled period of American ascendance. It presided over the greatest economic expansion ever, the creation of a massive and growing middle class, the spread of democracy to other parts of the globe, general peace in its spheres of influence, institutions such as the Marshall Plan, United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Bretton Woods Monetary System, and the creation of “the liberal world order.” And though this group of elites came close, they didn’t blow up the world. However, determining just how much credit the old American aristocracy deserves for these developments is tricky."
"The American Left uses “conspiracy theory” to dismiss news and narratives it doesn’t like much in the way the American Right uses “fake news.” Other eras would’ve considered this a bug, but at this moment it’s a feature of the mainstream and alternative news and opinion cycle. Aristotle’s observation that “the more we know the more we don’t know” helps to explain why too often conspiracy theories fill in the gaps of what we don’t know...and sometimes of what we think we know. The prevalence of conspiracy theory in a time of unparalleled information abundance reveals deep anxieties that Enlightenment inspired values such as truth and opinion supported by facts and argument aren’t working as well as they once did. This examination of different ways to think about conspiracy theory is an effort in the fight against the most unfortunate trend in American intellectual life."
"Social conservatives need to maximize turnout from the base and expand the map by stressing the softer side of the faith agenda: education reform, immigration and criminal justice reform, and anti-poverty measures,” said Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, which has extensive outreach to conservative evangelicals in battlegrounds across the country."
"We live in a strange time in which technical expertise and political animus are both in abundance. Indeed, both are distributed along ideological vectors in such a way that the weaknesses and failures of each are still considered acceptable to their affinity groups when compared their polar opposites."